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The U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection draws from a variety of professional journals that focus on relevant issues affecting The Army. The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the Army. This micro-site seeks to stimulate innovative thinking about the challenges that may face tomorrow's Army. It is further intended that the articles featured on this site cause reflection, increased dialogue within the Army Community, and in the best case, action by Soldiers. Updated monthly, these articles are written by Soldiers, civilians, academics, and other subject matter experts. Links to various Army publications, Department of Defense journals and selected non-governmental defense-related publications are also provided on this site.

Discouraging Hearts and Minds: Democracies and Insurgencies

Discouraging Hearts and Minds: Democracies and InsurgenciesThe ultimate goal in war is "to compel our enemy to do our will." Counterinsurgency provides no exception to this rule. All parties in war try to achieve this goal despite their opponents' countervailing efforts. They focus on attacking their opponents' centers of gravity and protecting their own. Both efforts are equally important. An insurgency's centers of gravity are its leadership and its armed forces. The associated critical vulnerability is the support of the people in which the insurgent is rooted and on which he relies for resolve, recruitment, shelter, supplies, and other necessities. According to David Galula, "The population therefore becomes the objective for the counterinsurgent as it was for his enemy." This insight, now broadly accepted, is the foundation of the COIN strategy of winning the hearts and minds of the population, the insurgent's base of support. Such a strategy will entail a very lengthy effort; in fact, many counterinsurgencies last more than a decade. According to T.X. Hammes, "When getting involved in this type of fight, the United States must plan for a decades-long commitment."

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European Views of Preemption in U.S. National Security Strategy

European Views of Preemption in U.S. National Security StrategyThe 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States and the 2006 expanded version describe the broad strategic goals that have become known as the Bush Doctrine: military primacy, global transformation, preemption, and a willingness to act unilaterally. Europeans, like American critics of the Bush Doctrine, worry about the unfortunate juxtaposition of the unachievable goal of completely ending tyranny throughout the world, the confusion between preemptive war and preventive war, the use of 9/11 as a pretext for unilateralism, and the document's preface declaring, "This is a wartime national security strategy . . . ." From the perspective of most Europeans, these overly broad goals are in sharp contrast with the European preference for multilateralism and consensus. These elements of the Bush Doctrine, and their applications in Iraq, have radically altered the extensive post-9/11 sympathy and support for the American response to the threat of terrorism.


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Iran and the United States: The Emerging Security Paradigm in the Middle East

Iran and the United States: The Emerging Security Paradigm in the Middle EastThe international coalitions' failure to decisively defeat the insurgent threats and establish stable governments in Afghanistan and Iraq has altered regional security dynamics. As a result, the likelihood of another U.S.-led international military confrontation with Iran has been substantially reduced. The continued fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and the lack of any clear exit strategy have empowered Iran and given it much-needed "breathing space." Indeed, Iran feels stronger now than it has in decades. As Martin Indyk, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, argues, "After a decade of being on the defensive, the regime in Tehran now feels that its moment has arrived." Consequently, the Iranians have been more aggressive asserting their claim for regional leadership. This includes an ambitious nuclear program.


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Rethinking Insurgency

Rethinking InsurgencyThe U.S. military and national security community lost interest in insurgency after the end of the Cold War. Other defense issues such as multinational peacekeeping and transformation seemed more pressing and thus attracted the most attention. But with the onset of the war on terror and the ensuing involvement of the U.S. military in counterinsurgency support in Iraq and Afghanistan, insurgency experienced renewed concern in both the defense and intelligence communities. This relearning process, while exceptionally important, emphasized the wrong thing, focusing on Cold War-era nationalistic insurgencies rather than the complex conflicts which characterized the post-Cold War security environment. To be successful at counterinsurgency, the U.S. military and defense community must rethink insurgency. This has profound implications for American strategy and military doctrine.


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